Silk Comforter Fabric Has Mommes Not Thread Count

Most shoppers know to look for thread count when buying bed sheets, pillow cases, comforters or other luxury bedding items. But thread count does not really apply when looking at silk comforters and fabrics. Instead, silk fabric is measured in a unit of weight called momme.

Momme is pronounced “mommy” and is defined as a Japanese unit of weight equal to 3.6 grams. The term originated out of the cultured pearl industry. In reference to silk fabrics, a momme is 3.6 grams of silk fabric per yard. For example a 17 momme fabric would weigh 61.2 grams per 1 yard.

Selecting a Quality Silk Comforter

When selecting a silk comforter, there are many factors to evaluate. One of the main ones is the type of fabric used in the cover. Many silk comforter covers are cotton (in which case thread count would apply), a cotton and silk mix, or 100% silk.

The best type of silk commonly used for a silk comforter cover is charmeuse. It ranges from 16-19 momme. It is also the most commonly used and most well known type of silk in all bedding items. The surface of charmeuse silk if very smooth and the fabric drapes beautifully. Another name for charmeuse silk is satin silk. Satin polyester is a cheaper imitation of this type of silk.

Habotai silk is also used in silk comforters and is similar to charmeuse, but lighter in weight (12-15 momme) and not as shiny. Because it is a lighter weight, it does not drape as well as heavier fabrics, but it is more comfortable to use in summer or warmer climates.

Silk fabrics used in bedding range from 8mm on the low end to 22mm at the high end. Higher momme fabrics are more durable, but not necessarily higher quality. Heavier and lighter silk fabrics simply have different uses. A heavier 23 momme fabric is commonly used in men’s suits, while silk sheets range from 13 – 20 momme.

A Silk comforter uses 15 – 18 momme fabric, heavy enough to last the life of the comforter, but not too heavy to prevent moisture from passing through and away from your body.

The silk filling in a silk comforter is not measured in mommes, but rather grams or ounces. For example, a typical all year weight silk comforter would have 67ounces of silk floss filling and a common weight for the cover material would be 16 momme.

Mulberry and Tussah: 2 Quality Levels of Silk

There are two types of silk filling used in silk comforters. The first is mulberry silk, also called cultivated silk. Mulberry silk comes from silk worms that are raised in a controlled environment and fed a strict diet of mulberry leaves. Mulberry silk is pure white and made from 1 continuous thread.

After the silk worms build there cocoon, they are killed with heat. Silk worms build their cocoons with just a few long thread, 500-1000 meters long. Factory workers brush the outside of the cocoon to find the end of the thread, and then reel it off to make fabric, or stretch it out to make silk floss for a comforter.

Tussah silk, also called wild silk, is produced from silk worms fed a diet of whatever they can find out in nature. The color of tussah is anywhere from light beige to deep tan, depending on what the worm was feeding on. Because the silk worm is allowed to emerge, the silk fibers have been broken and are shorter, making a less smooth thread and fabric.